Frequently Asked Questions

What is the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC)?

NEASC provides accreditation services for more than 2000 public and private institutions in the six state region - Pre-K through university. Emanating from high quality standards, NEASC accreditation uses self-reflection, peer review and best practices as integral components of its assessment process and monitors the follow-up endeavors leading to continuous school/program improvement. NEASC consists of six Commissions, each of which sets the standards for a particular segment of the educational community.

What is the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE)?

CIHE of the NEASC is the regional accreditation agency for colleges and universities in the six New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Three institutions in Greece, three in Switzerland, and one in Bulgaria, Bermuda, and Lebanon, respectively, are also affiliated with CIHE. The Commission consists of faculty and administrators from affiliated institutions and public members. It is served by a staff led by Dr. Barbara Brittingham.

The Commission is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a reliable authority on the quality of education for the institutions it accredits. The Commission is also recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), affirming that its Standards and processes are consistent with the quality, improvement, and accountability expectations that CHEA has established.

Why is accreditation important?

Accreditation is a status that provides assurance to prospective students, their families and the general public that an institution meets clearly stated Standards for Accreditation and that there are reasonable grounds to believe the institution will continue to meet those standards in the future. 

How is the University of Massachusetts Worcester accredited?

An institution must first be licensed to operate in one of the six New England states and demonstrate that it meets the Commission's Requirements of Affiliation.  The Commission determines whether or not an institution may apply for candidacy only after comprehensive review and on-site evaluation. The process begins with an in-person interview with Commission staff at the NEASC offices. The length of time to candidacy depends on a number of factors, including how long the institution has been in operation and the results of its on-site evaluations. Once candidacy is achieved, an institution must progress to accreditation within five years. 

What is the focus of NEASC accreditation?

An institutional accrediting agency evaluates the institution as a whole, applying the standards in light of the institution’s mission. Besides assessing educational programs, it evaluates areas such as governance and administration, financial stability, physical resources, library and technology, admissions, and student services. Institutional accreditation encompasses the entire institution.

How often is an institution reviewed by the CIHE?

Once candidacy is achieved, an institution must progress to accreditation within five years.

What criteria does the CIHE use to determine accreditation status?

Accreditation is not for a specific period of time but is a continuing relationship that is subject to periodic review. Institutions provide information to the Commission annually and at other intervals depending on the circumstances. Comprehensive evaluations, including site visits by a team of peer evaluators, take place at least every ten years. The Commission holds four regular meetings each year to review institutional reports and reports of peer evaluation teams. The Standards for Accreditation guide all decisions. read more...


Note The NEASC/CIHE FAQ was compiled using source documents from cihe.neasc.org and www.neasc.org
Please refer to either one of these sites for more information.

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